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18 May, 2022 09:50

Fan arrested after sickening ‘headbutt’ on player during pitch invasion (VIDEO)

The incident occurred during an English Championship playoff clash between Nottingham Forest and Sheffield United
Fan arrested after sickening ‘headbutt’ on player during pitch invasion (VIDEO)

Police in Nottinghamshire have arrested a local football fan who appeared to headbutt a rival player while celebrating a huge win for local team Nottingham Forest.

Forest won an English Championship playoff semifinal penalty shootout 3-2 against a visiting Sheffield United on Tuesday, which put the home team within one victory of Premier League football for the first time in 24 years.

After goalkeeper Brice Samba saved the decisive spot-kick, the City Ground pitch was invaded by boisterous Forest supporters, one of whom, as video footage shows, seemed to headbutt Sheffield United striker Billy Sharp and knock him to the ground. 

Police quickly launched an investigation and made an arrest of a 31-year-old man, as confirmed by Nottinghamshire Police Chief Inspector Paul Hennessy.

"A 31-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of assault in connection with this incident," Hennessy said.

"He remains in custody and will be questioned by officers. Our enquiries into the circumstances surrounding the incident are ongoing. We have spoken to the player concerned and we are working with both clubs who are supporting us with our investigation.”

In their own statement, Forest said they were "appalled" by footage that showed Sharp, who played for them on loan in 2012-2013, being "assaulted"

"The club will work with the authorities to locate the individual in order [for them to be] held to account for their actions, which will include a life ban from Nottingham Forest," Forest vowed.

"The club would also like to apologize to Billy personally and to Sheffield United."

Via Sky Sports, Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom joined the chorus of disapproval. 

"We’re seeing things thrown on the pitch and things that are thrown on putting players’ health and safety in danger and nothing’s ever done about it. There will be something done about that," Heckingbottom claimed.

"We’ve seen what’s happened, we know what’s happened."

"How can you come to a place of work minding your own business and be assaulted in that fashion?" he asked.

"It’s just bang out of order and it’s everything that’s wrong. Too many times we hear people condemn it, but nothing’s done about it. We’re the ones that suffered.

"We’ve seen one of our players attacked. He’s shook up, bleeding. It’ll be dealt with. It’s upsetting for a lot of reasons – I don’t want to say too much more about it. He’ll be dealt with."

Taking to Twitter on Wednesday morning, Sharp blasted "one mindless idiot who ruined an unbelievable night of football."

"Congratulations to Nottingham Forest on their victory and good luck in the final. As an ex-Forest player I will not let one scumbag ruin my respect for the Forest fans," Sharp promised, saying he was "incredibly proud to be captain of this group of Sheffield United players."

"They gave their all and can hold their heads up high. We will be back and go again. Thanks for all your messages and support after the incident," Sharp finished.

After drawing 3-3 on aggregate with United over two legs and winning 3-2 on penalties, Forest will face another Yorkshire foe in Huddersfield – who beat Luton in their playoff semifinal – at Wembley on May 29 for a place in the Premier League.